I was reading a blog posting earlier this week at lifehacker.com, entitled, “How to Limit Visits to Time-Wasting Web Sites and Give Your Willpower a Break.” Here’s the URL: http://lifehacker.com/5780575/limit-visits-to-time+wasting-web-sites-and-give-your-willpower-a-break The blog is about a software program, StayFocusd Chrome, that stops you from surfing certain sites. You pre-program it for the sites that you waste time on and it limits the time you are allowed to spend at those sites. What it does is help you avoid distractions in your environment. The way it does that is by leveraging your motivation.What I mean by leveraging your motivation is finding some simple way to exercise control, which simple way results in a greater control over yourself. In other words you have enough motivation to input the distracting sites into StayFocusd Chrome, activity which doesn’t require a lot of motivation. That action however has great dividends, as it allows (forces) you to avoid wasting time at those sites. You might not have enough motivation to avoid those sites, were you able to access them. It works just like a lever, a tool that enables you to exercise power you do not naturally have.
In case I haven’t explained it very well, I will share how I first became aware that you can leverage motivation. It’s the story of the brownie and the mayonnaise. When the person who told the story rides on an airplane (back when they fed you) he would be served a sandwich and for dessert a brownie. What he wanted to stay motivated about was watching his diet, which meant not eating the brownie. He knew that he could resist the brownie, at first, especially while he still had the sandwich to eat. But he knew, once he finished the sandwich, the temptation of the brownie would be too strong and he would succumb. His motivation to stay on his diet would not be strong enough to resist the brownie once he had finished the sandwich. So as soon as he got his lunch, the first thing he did was open up the brownie. Then he would open up the little package of mayonnaise that came with the sandwich, and spread the mayo all over the brownie. Once he had done that, the brownie no longer tempted him, not all covered with mayo. He leveraged his motivation, which was strong enough to keep him from eating the brownie while he still had a sandwich to eat, so that he was able to resist the temptation even after the sandwich was gone, when the temptation was so much greater, and his motivation would not be otherwise adequate.
That person didn’t call it leveraging motivation, that’s my phrase, but this was the first time I became conscious of the concept.
I love finding examples of motivational leveraging. They are the strategies of smart and aware people. There is real power in knowing your weaknesses.